Verschuuren, J.

RAMSAR soft law is not soft at all

Netherlands Crown Decision of 11 September 2007 in the case lodged by Competent Authority for the Island of Bonaire on the annulment of two of its decisions on the Lac wetland by the Governor of the Netherlands Antilles 

In 2006, the Competent Authority for the Island of Bonaire, one of the islands of the Netherlands Antilles (Dutch territory in the Caribbean) decided to allow for the construction of a resort totalling 44,150 square metres. Under "project Mangrove Village" in Sorobon, Bonaire, the privately owned company Crown Court Estate planned to construct 27 single units, 17 double units, a resort entry, and two gatekeeper buildings covering 10.995 square metres. Two decisions (the emphyteutic lease and the building permit) were annulled by the Governor in October 2006 and January 2007 respectively because of infringement of the Convention of Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar Convention), more specifically infringement of Article 3 of the Convention and the guidelines adopted in the Annex of Resolution VIII.9 (the duty to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment before granting a building permit). The Lac/Sorobon wetland was designated a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention on 23 May 1980. The resort was not planned to be located within the boundaries of the Ramsar site, but (partly) inside the 500 meter buffer zone surrounding the Ramsar site.

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